No, it has nothing to do with being embarrassed about my husbands job or the idea most people have that everything behind the uniform is classified. But it definitely has a lot to do with the fact that it is not my job and I DO NOT wear the uniform. But before everyone gets the wrong idea about this post, let me explain.
I met my husband when I was 14, we grew up together and from high school, through college and a long, overwhelming deployment through my last year of undergrad, I eagerly applied to graduate school while also submitting applications for our first apartment at our first duty station. We are both well traveled so moving was not quite as big a step as getting married was but we did it (no regrets, loved this man since I was 14) and we’re still rolling!
What I was not ready for all those years ago was strangers telling me that my life now revolved around my “sponsor” and that everything I have and will have I should thank him for. Even after working a full time job up until the day I gave birth to Gabe, successfully completing my Master’s degree the day after giving birth and going back after maternity leave, I was told that I either need to figure out how to juggle it all like a single mother or quit my job because no matter what, my husband comes first. Not me, not our son – my husband. I was told that his sleep meant more after the baby came because I would be able to nap when the baby did or that I should be grateful his income is steady. All laughable times for me because I refused to let these individuals see me hindered by their words.
Yet, truthfully, resentment has tapped me on the shoulder more often than people think but I keep in mind that this is not how my husband and I think. In fact, these statements are not even the reflection of everyone in the service but they are spoken quite often by people who hold it together better in public than they do behind closed doors and it all frustrated the shit out of me.
THE TURNING POINT:
However, during a random deployment for my husband – his 3rd to be exact, I decided that if I found more things that Ashley enjoyed doing instead of constantly worrying and complaining about about all the things I felt like I could not, (due to my husbands job of course – said with much sarcasm btw) I would be a hell of a lot happier. No, I did not join spouses clubs, attend teas got to every single ball. I did not get to every new duty station in search for friends and I definitely did not wait for someone, anyone to go see a movie, hit the gym, go out to eat or even shop at the mall. I did for me and became the best company that I could keep. It made me a healthier version of myself and as I can imagine took plenty of stress off of my husband who could not control his comings or goings but wished I had a lot more of a say in mine. I landed a great job, and we’ve adjusted parts of our life to feel as normal as we can in spite of the boots I constantly trip over coming into the front door from from work every night and the green uniforms that litter the laundry room floor.
My husband loves it. I love it. His occupation does not define us and we do not limit ourselves because of it. I don’t speak on it much because I love for people to get to know me for myself – outside of the idea that an “Army Wife struggle” will automatically create this lifelong bond between us. Looking back, that is not how I want to be remembered when you get to your next duty station. I want you to look back and be like damn, she was Just Ashley.